IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: More U.S. Chamber of Commerce propaganda to support the GOP v. EPA in the House and Senate; Clean energy v. Oil in the budget shutdown showdown... PLUS: Signs of stabilizing at the Fukushima nuclear plant, as yet another earthquake rocks Japan's devastated coastline ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Climate change breaks NASA temperature chart; Dangerous new antibiotic-resistant water bug found in India; OK return to Dust Bowl days?; TX worsening drought devastating wheat crops; GOP allows agribusiness to dump pesticides in water; Solar Costs May Already Rival Coal; Canceled Coal Plant's Aging Parts; Right-wing Group Writes Anti-EPA Bills For State Legislatures; What corporations really mean by profit and loss; Should 'smart grid' let smart meters make decisions for consumers?; Clean-Energy Investment Is Placed at Risk as UN Climate Negotiations Stall; Governments urged to move forward at UN climate meeting; Two Major Enviro Groups Join Forces ... PLUS: Boom-and-bust fossil fuels and the promise of cheap electricity ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Glenn Beck Leaving Fox News Channel:
- In honor of Glenn Beck leaving Fox, the top 10 dumbass things he said about the environment (Grist)
- Glenn Beck: Farewell to a Fearmonger (Daily Beast)
- Clean Energy v. Oil In the Budget Shutdown Showdown
- WATCH: Reducing Oil Imports and Competing for the Jobs of the Future: President Obama visits the Gamesa Plant in Fair Hills, Pennsylvania and held a town hall discussion with workers there about building a 21st century clean energy economy. (WhiteHouse.gov)
- Obama touts links between clean energy, education and economy (CNN):
President Barack Obama linked clean energy, education, economic growth and budget negotiations on Wednesday in urging workers at a wind turbine company to continue shaping the nation's future.
It won't be easy, he warned, calling for hard work and moving past "petty politics" that can hinder progress. In particular, he wondered aloud why it had to be so politically difficult to get agreement in Washington for policies such as developing clean energy sources to reduce oil imports.
- What Does a Government Shutdown Mean?: Passports, park admissions and poo are among Miller-McCune’s list of 10 things that will be affected if the budget-less U.S. government shuts down this weekend.(Miller-McCune)
- GOP v. EPA in the House and Senate:
- Paul Ryan’s Big Oil budget halts energy innovation (Climate Progress) [emphasis added]:
It retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth. This budget would lock Americans into paying high, volatile energy prices. It would ensure that millions of clean energy jobs are created oversees–not here in the United States. It is a path backward to Bush-Cheney Big Oil energy policies that cost jobs and harm American competitiveness. In short, the Ryan plan ensures that we lose the high-stakes competition for the $2 trillion worldwide clean tech market.
- Senate Dems reject attacks on EPA climate efforts (AP)
- McConnell fails to get majority to deny climate science and block EPA Clean Air rules (Climate Progress
- GOP-led House rejects science, 240-184 (Climate Progress)
- Senate vote leaves everyone claiming victory - Republicans set to even the score with House victory - Senate GOP vows to try again (Politico)
- OP-ED: Congress on wrong side of history in denying climate change (Rep. Betsy McCollum (D-MN), The Hill)
- Republicans lose Senate vote on EPA, call it a win (Grist):
There were four riders dealing with EPA powers; no single one got 60 votes, but they went ahead and added up all the senators who voted for any of the four. And there were 64 of those, so they won!
Yeah, somebody needs to watch Schoolhouse Rock again. And not just the one about how a bill becomes a law, but also some of the math bits, because climate-hatin’, dictator-lovin’ Jim Inhofe declared this a “90 percent” majority. For those of you who also need an elementary school refresher, there are 100 senators, and 64 out of 100 is 64 percent. But 90 percent of made-up statistics are “90 percent,” we find.
- The Congressional Carbon Circus (Grist) [emphasis added]:
EPA has been sued by dozens of trade associations, companies, and right-leaning advocacy groups representing the country's biggest polluters. But when put to the test of proving their claims, they failed.
Congressmen, you deny the science at your peril. Likewise, you buy into phony story-lines about burdens on small business at your peril.
- Race to the bottom: 7 states where Republicans are ruining the environment. (Wonk Room)
- Republican overreach may save EPA (David Roberts, Grist)
- New Wind Now Costs the SAME As New Coal (Except One Kills You):
- New wind now costs the same as new coal—the tiebreaker is one of them kills you (Grist) [emphasis added]:
The radical environmentalists at Bloomberg have declared that the world's best new wind projects now produce electricity that costs about the same as electricity produced from new coal-fired power plants....here's the bottom line: wind costs $65 a megawatt-hour, while power from new coal-fired power plants costs about $68 an hour.
Coal would be much cheaper if there were no environmental controls on it. So if you like asthma, poor air quality, and premature death, be sure to vote for whichever politicians are all about rolling back environmental controls.
- Wind Power’s Best Projects Rival Costs of New Coal-Fired Plants, BNEF Says (Bloomberg)
- ONGOING COVERAGE: Japan's Ongoing Triple Disaster & Nuclear Nightmare:
- How to Help: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (NY Times)
- UPDATED Coverage of Japan's Nuclear Disaster at BRAD BLOG.COM (BradBlog.com)
- Updated: Japan's Nuclear Emergency Explained (Mother Jones)
- Updated Full Coverage: JAPAN NUCLEAR CRISIS (Kyodo News)
- Updated Full Coverage Page at Reuters (Reuters)
- IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake (International Atomic Energy Agency)
- Facts: Nuclear Power Safety (Union of Concerned Scientists)
- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: JAPAN'S ONGOING NUCLEAR CRISIS:
- Another strong quake rattles tsunami-ravaged Japan (AP)
- Japan Races to Find Tsunami Dead Despite Radiation (AP)
- Nitrogen, coolant water injection unaffected by Miyagi quake (Kyodo News)
- 'Early signs of recovery' at Fukushima nuke plant in Japan: IAEA (Kyodo News)
- New Atomic Risk Strategy Needed After Fukushima (Reuters)
- Worker safety takes back seat in dealing with nuclear crisis (Asahi Daily)
- Peace of Mind, Livelihood Gone as Japanese City Withers in Shadow of Nuclear Plant (Washington Post)
- Countries Begin Radiation Checks on Ships That Have Visited Japan (NY Times)
- Water Barriers Mulled (Belatedy) at Leaking Nuclear Complex (NYT Dot Earth)
- Analysis: Japan's nuclear nightmare set to run and run (Reuters):
Workers struggling to prevent more radiation from escaping Japan's crippled nuclear plant face a hellish scenario --- with every attempt to get it under control seemingly creating life-threatening problems. Unfortunately they are going to have to get used to it.
A final resolution of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power station will likely take decades and experts say there could be many further setbacks and frightening moments to come. The cost in terms of money or the health of the workers is almost impossible to assess at this stage.
- Renewable energy a pillar in Japan reconstruction vision: Edano (Reuters):
Renewable energy will play an important role in Japan's reconstruction, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Tuesday as the country struggled to bring a damaged nuclear power plant under control.
"When considering the damage from this accident, there is no doubt we are moving toward making renewable energy sources a pillar," Edano told reporters.
- The IMPACT on U.S. Nuclear Policy & Industry:
- Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve?: 'Forgetting by doing'? Real escalation in reactor investment costs (Climate Progress)
- US nuclear reactors required to cope with blackouts lasting a maximum 4 or 8 hours (AP)
- NY Demands Fire Safety Enforcement at Indian Point Reactors (Environmental News Service):
The Indian Point nuclear power plant is currently in violation of fire safety regulations and is seeking more than 100 exemptions from those regulations, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday.
- At U.S. Nuclear Sites, Preparing for the Unlikely (NY Times):
American nuclear safety regulators, using a complex mathematical technique, determined that the simultaneous failure of both emergency shutdown systems that are designed to prevent a core meltdown was so unlikely that it would happen once every 17,000 years. But 20 years ago, it happened twice in four days at a pair of nuclear reactors in southern New Jersey.
In the United States, 93 of the 104 operating reactors have batteries capable of providing power for four hours; the other 11 have eight-hour batteries. Fukushima had eight-hour batteries. It wasn't enough.
the Dresden nuclear facility in Morris, Ill., and the nearby Quad Cities plant in Cordova, both of which are north of the New Madrid seismic zone. The area registered quakes estimated to have exceeded 7.0 in magnitude in 1811 and 1812, and is known for somewhat more regular temblors of lesser intensity.
- Critics question safety at San Onofre: It is designed to handle a 7.0 earthquake and is buffered from a tsunami by a barrier capable of stopping a 25-foot wave. Regulations for its construction were written with the disaster at Three Mile Island in mind. (San Diego Press Enterprise)
- What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk (MSNBC):
So much for San Andreas: Reactors in East, Midwest, South have highest chance of damage
- VIDEO: Before Japan disaster, GOP mocked concerns about nuclear safety (MediaMatters.org)
- Taxpayer Meltdown?: Taxpayers, Not Utilities, Liable for Most of the Bill (National Journal)
- Cost, not Japan crisis, should scrub nuclear power (Grist)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- You're getting warmer: Climate change breaks NASA temperature chart (Climate Safety):
The temperature anomaly in the Arctic --- the amount that current temperatures differ from historical norms --- is now so severe that NASA's James Hansen had to add a new color to his charts in order to accurately depict it: Hot pink.
- Cardiff University-led team finds New Delhi antibiotic-resistant water bug (BBC):
A Cardiff University-led team of scientists are urging urgent action by health authorities worldwide after it discovered new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in India.
It is the first time the bacteria, found in the drinking water supply of New Delhi, has been located in the wider environment outside a hospital.
- Oklahoma Facing Drought Comparable To Dust Bowl Days (AP):
Paul Fruendt said he's been farming for 25 years and he's never seen such bad growing conditions. His farm in Guthrie in central Oklahoma got a little rain, but he said his crops will still probably run out of water within a few weeks.
"For us already, we're going to suffer," said Fruendt, who invested about $100,000 in his wheat. "Probably two-thirds of our gross income has been wiped out for the next six months."
- Storms not enough to help Texas' worsening drought (AP):
The area considered in an extreme drought has tripled in the past month, and weather forecasters expect the drought to continue or get worse through June in most of the state. That means the danger of fire will remain extremely high, National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy said.
"This could end up being one of the more devastating droughts, agriculturally speaking and for wildfires, if we don't start getting normal to above normal rainfall before June," Murphy said. "The odds of seeing that are likely below normal."
- Anti-EPA House Votes To Let Agribusiness Dump Pesticides In Our Water (Think Progress) [emphasis added]:
The Tea Party Congress doesn’t just hate EPA rules that protect against industry destroying our country with greenhouse pollution, mercury, coal ash, and mountaintop removal. By a veto-proof margin, the U.S. House of Representatives voted yesterday to prohibit Clean Water Act limits on pesticide pollution of lakes, streams, and rivers.
Lobbyists for industrial agriculture polluters cheered the 292-130 vote for H.R. 872, which “will amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for applications of pesticides approved for use under FIFRA.”
- Solar Costs May Already Rival Coal, Spurring Installation Boom (Bloomberg):
Solar panel installations may surge in the next two years as the cost of generating electricity from the sun rivals coal-fueled plants, industry executives and analysts said.
- Up For Sale: Canceled Coal Plant's Aging Parts (SolveClimate)
- Right-wing Group Writes Anti-EPA Bills For State Legislatures (ClimateWire):
A Virginia state lawmaker caused a stir in February when he admitted that his resolution declaring U.S. EPA's effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions a 'regulatory train wreck' was written by the coal industry.
- Op-Ed: What corporations really mean by profit and loss: Despite 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, TransOcean gave executives 'safety' bonuses. All too typical (Laura Flanders, Guardian UK)
- 'Smart grid' entrepreneurs debate letting smart meters make decisions for consumers (Sustainable Industries)
- Clean-Energy Investment Is Placed at Risk as UN Climate Negotiations Stall (Bloomberg)
- Governments urged to tackle work agreed in 2010 at UN climate meeting (Engineering News) [emphasis added]:
The first United Nations (UN) climate change negotiating session for 2011 started in Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday, and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres called on governments to tackle work agreed to in 2010 and address shortfalls in climate action to put the world on a climate-safe path.
Figueres said that governments have two main tasks before them in 2011. The first relates to the emission reduction targets and actions, which would keep the world from breaching the 2 ºC average temperature rise, by the end of the century, as agreed in Cancun.
The sum of national promises to date equals only about 60% of what science requires by 2020 to stay below the agreed 2 ºC goal.
- Two Major Enviro Groups Join Forces: McKibben and Taylor on the merger of 350.org and 1Sky (Climate Progress)
- Boom-and-bust fossil fuels and the promise of cheap electricity (Grist):
Solar hot water heating took off at the turn of the century but fizzled around 1930 when natural gas became cheap.
The crazy thing about human beings is that we build infrastructure around the low price, not the high price. We get locked in to that infrastructure and it's difficult for other technologies to break in. You've already invested in your HVAC system for your 4,000-square-foot house 50 miles from the nearest city. How do you design a solar system for that house, or an electric car that's going to fit your needs? It's a tough thing.
- Oklahoma Facing Drought Comparable To Dust Bowl Days (AP):